This is my Raw Why behind Air Control PilatesJan 23, 2024
What is my WHY?
this is the why behind Air Control Pilates
I started teaching Aerial Pilates back in 2013. I started training as an Aerialist in 2008, I wanted help with my aerial journey, I knew it was Pilates focus that helped but I wanted more than that, I wanted to use this same material/apparatus that I used in aerial, I wanted to learn with it, I wanted what I was finding hard to work with to become the solution too.
As Pilates teachers, Aerialists, Movement Lovers, Bodyworkers know very well,
our bodies tell the truth
Has there been a time you've found that the body reveals its truth on your self or those you teach?
I tried to hide what my body was revealing ... that my hips were tight, my body ached, I was really lordotic, weaker on one side, often in pain and I felt very misaligned. I trained often, had privates... but no matter how much work I did, I felt like I was working against myself and that my mind was more powerful than my body and I was creating a constant battle for myself within. I was struggling to let go. I was so ashamed by this, yet it was a skill I’d not learnt. I thought I 'should know better' and be better than how I actually was.
The very being of ‘not meeting myself where I was’ meant I was mentally beating myself up to be something different to where I was. What I learnt is that 'knowing' did not change anything, only a healing journey and turning inwards to sit in the discomfort would create change for me. I had my own journey to make in my own time. Pilates was part of that ...but something additional was needed.
My amazing mentor, Chris Blagdon, owner of Edinburgh Pilates Centre (now retired this year), which was the first Pilates studio outside of London. Chris trained with Alan Herdman and has taught for over 25 years now. He called me out, saw I needed to let go, slowly encouraged me, sometimes kindly and gently and sometimes in that old school dance style guilt! .... Chris gave me class and taught me on all the Pilates apparatus, from very small detailed work, intricate precise engagements, ‘basic back’. He was always planting seeds for work I really needed to go away and concentrate on and think about. To larger full bodied, energetic work whether it be plies on reformer, short spine, legs in straps, cadillac, but mostly the self, it was about working within, connecting, feeling, delving...how to develop and meet my highest potential. He’s also very intuitive and can sense if you’re pushing too hard or ‘forcing’. It’s a careful balance.
In 2013 The words of the director echoed in my head.... "So it's about a woman" ....."I wonder what are her shadows?!" .....I was cringing....crawling inside… I was literally sitting on the set, knowing in my mind exactly what every single piece on the set was about and for and what it represented. why why WHY...why would I do this to myself.... I had spent the last 8 years putting a face on and pretending everything was fine' (FINE - F**ked up, insecure, neurotic and emotional) Why would I put it out there to be judged, analysed, shamed, embarrassed...all of it... I was in silent thought. ….If you know me, you'll know that's rare! I went home that night to my then amazing Canadian flatmate, had a glass of wine and we went to work on creating a storyboard to take onto the set the next day to present to the team my clear thoughts, be open, intrigued about my journey and vulnerable to see their thoughts on it.
I still don't fully understand, except the feeling that my body wanted to let the story out and I needed to express it, it didn't feel like I had a choice, it felt like I had a confession, to be authentic, to be brutally honest. We had funding and a whole team ready to go, to do research and development for 3 weeks, using audio visual, aerial and dance to experiment and play with ideas towards the making of this show. I had to just trust. It was so scary. Everything you've wanted to hide, is going to be 'performed' to a whole audience. We chose to do an invited safe critique feedback session that would be mediated by the Federation of Scottish Theatre and this made me feel supported and safe. The feedback was immense, so encouraging and supportive. It resonated with people's own journeys, which is exactly what I wanted. I wanted me sharing my story to have a knock on positive effect for others. It gave me so much relief.
You'll see there's a space in the back of my heart on my aerial costume. The idea behind the revealing of my skin was a reflection of me baring my soul, the hurt in my heart and feeling of knotted guts, both of which I'd always tried to hide and heal in private.
Prior to creating this show I spent 5 years going to counselling, quietly doing the 'work'. Trying to gain clarity and understanding so I could feel better, grow and just 'move on' with my life. My counsellor was also an art therapist, whilst I wasn't very good at drawing or painting my thoughts, I loved the idea of being creative. I had trained in dance and felt that my natural place of creativity was in the physical realm so alongside my counselling I also started aerial classes in 2008. I was so weak and really struggled, physically and mentally with it. The aerial silks or tissue were the hardest, even learning a basic 'climb' I found so hard! I went on to do static trapeze and I found I could gain some progression in that area.
After 4 years of training in aerial I did my first gig and loved it! My friend had accidentally ripped her costume doing an 'aerial drop' in the rehearsal, so I ripped mine and we made it part of the costume and the show! I like to be authentic and real, it just makes me feel more comfortable and alive.
WHY am I telling you all this? Because I want you to know I'm authentic, I'm passionate about what I do and I really think it's powerful, empowering and healing. The reason why I created Air Control Pilates is to invite other movement lovers in who 'get it' or what to and learn more about themselves. I want to share this journey and experience, it's lonely doing something on your own all the time. I know over the years of teaching and running a self employed business it's been lonely doing that too.
I want to create a space for like minded professionals who are all on a journey together, support each other to be empowered, expressive and feel good!
I think it's important to be expressive, to promote conversations about our fears or our 'shadows' in a safe place. I believe there's a way for everyone to be heard, be creative, be expressive and also the power of the arts and creating art around movement.
This is my WHY. This is probably why I'm so driven, passionate and I am so clear about my journey forwards and also in the sharing of it. I've only ever been authentic and truthful with myself as all the time my desire has just been to have peace and be creative.
I invite you to take a breath of fresh AIR with me
Air Hugs, Debbie x
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